Students brought home Spelling Word Work duo tangs in the latter part of the week. In class we studied about some common plural forms: both regular and irregular ones. Plural forms that are irregular are those that do not change when pluralized: e.g. deer (sing.) is also deer (pl.). Another example would be the word 'sheep' which does not change form in the plural (i.e. 'There are many sheep.' versus 'There are many sheeps.') In the second sentence the writer has made a plausible prediction about the plural form based on prior knowledge, but clearly it is grammatically incorrect. We never say 'sheeps' with an 's'. One activity which we have done repeatedly in the class is a three-point organizer. The three point organizer allows multiple access points for learners when learning new vocabulary associated with curriculum. They draw a picture of the word, define it using a dictionary, text or other reference material and they are prompted to think of synonyms for the word or give examples. 4E and 4F students are familiar with this type of work. Below is an example of how to do the three point organizer effectively that may assist parents who are helping their sons/daughters at home to complete the three-point organizer:
In our word work this week students have been learning about identifying and applying common spelling generalizations in their own writing. The spelling list from this week and in-class assignments prompted students to use spelling generalizations such as changing "y" to "i" and adding -es to make a word plural. In addition to the plural forms the list includes words frequently used in Social Studies and in student research for the infographic assignment. The weekend homework involves writing 10 sentences using the words from this week's list. Students are asked to do this in preparation for a quiz on Monday. As part of our ongoing word work in class, students write their own sentences as a means of further developing the ability to write in a legible style that demonstrates awareness of alignment, shape and slant of letters. They identify and apply common spelling rules, attend to capitalization and edit their own work for subject-verb agreement errors with prompts and cues from Mr. Brewer. As students work through the weekend homework they should be actively attending to points that are reviewed frequently in class such as capitalizing to indicate the beginnings of sentences or proper nouns. The aim should be for students to become increasingly independent in recognizing errors in their own writing and applying strategies to self-correct.
This week Mr. Brewer read from the Judy Bloome novel Superfudge. As students listened Mr. Brewer frequently stopped and posed questions. The questions were meant to illicit students' own ideas about the thoughts and actions of the characters portrayed in the book. Many students could make personal connections to the story and students were encouraged to ask relevant questions and respond to questions on topic. While some questions prompted students to recall events in the story, many questions were intended to make student explain connections among events, setting and main characters. As we continue to develop the skill of active questioning while reading, students will sometimes be asked to recall events, but increasingly we will look to develop the ability to probe more deeply into texts by predicting, making evaluative statements and inferring about the actions of characters. When reading together, parents can assist in increasing reading comprehension by asking 'why' or 'how' type questions: "How do you know that will happen?" "Why do you think the character did that?" These types of questions prompt students to 'think between the lines'. In this way we come to appreciate the artistry of texts and enter more readily into the minds of characters to understand their motives.